Serbia's Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History

Overview

An entire piece of Serbian history is missing. And in the middle of the latest Yugoslav war-Europe's worst blood bath since World War II-Serbian politicians, propagandists, and revisionist historians have made a cynical attempt at replacing the missing piece by rewriting the Holocaust record: Serbs were not Nazi collaborators in genocide, but purely victims of the same atrocities that befell the Jews; and Serbian aspirations for a Greater Serbia are not driven by a murderous, nationalistic hatred, but rather are ...
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Overview

An entire piece of Serbian history is missing. And in the middle of the latest Yugoslav war-Europe's worst blood bath since World War II-Serbian politicians, propagandists, and revisionist historians have made a cynical attempt at replacing the missing piece by rewriting the Holocaust record: Serbs were not Nazi collaborators in genocide, but purely victims of the same atrocities that befell the Jews; and Serbian aspirations for a Greater Serbia are not driven by a murderous, nationalistic hatred, but rather are propelled by a victim's desire to lay claim to a safe homeland, a Serbian Promised Land. Thus has the current spilling of blood been justified.

Philip J. Cohen argues that the existence of such a propaganda campaign, emanating from Belgrade, began in the earliest days of the post-World War II era and, since then, has been reflected in the world media, as well as in popular commentary and scholarly analysis. More astonishing is that this campaign has been widely successful, particularly in Israel.

In attempting to not only establish but also explain the Serbian record during the Nazi occupation, Cohen takes his reader back into nineteenth-century Serbia to uncover the foundation of a political and social system that was partly built on ethnic prejudices and the glorification of violence. The rise of Serbian fascism in the 1930s was therefore inevitable-predetermined by the politics of power- and land-grabbing.

Remarkable for its broad portrayal and penetrating examination of the Yugoslav social and political experience, Serbia at War with History draws heavily on documents that have been previously unavailable to the West. Some of the written record has been translated and is published here, in full, for the first time. Destined to be regarded as an important contribution to the field, Cohen's careful study of the Serbian role in the Second World War will dramatically alter how scholars, policy makers, and the general public view the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia-and how they will come to understand the reasons behind it.

Philip J. Cohen, a medical doctor, has done extensive research on history and politics in the Balkans. He is widely published in scholarly journals and books."Dr. Cohen's book is of unique value because it serves two vital purposes: to document the often misunderstood and misrepresented history of Serbian nationalism and Serbian collaboration with the Nazis and to expose some of the myths used by Serbian extremists today in the former Yugoslavia to justify a new round of genocide and 'ethnic cleansing.' As a result, it will make the task of revisionists and war criminals all the more difficult.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen W. Walker

“Cohen's book is even more compelling and timely, however, for the chilling parallels linking Serbian fascists of the 1940s with those of the 1990s—not to mention those individuals who participated in the war crimes of both eras. With CNN and other media providing greater access to the ongoing genocide in Bosnia today, one hopes that Dr. Cohen's book will not require a sequel fifty years from now."--Stephen W. Walker, Director, American Committee to Save Bosnia, former State Department official (resigned August 1993 to protest U.S. policy toward Bosnia)
Library Journal
Cohen, a physician who researched sources never before available to the West, weaves a rich tapestry covering the last 200 years of Balkan history while emphasizing the role the Serbs played in World War II. He gives us a detailed picture of Yugoslav society and politics, with numerous ethnic groups exercising Machiavelli's dictum: "The end justifies the means." They manipulate power, quarrel and debate, and, more often than not, murder over the fate of their ethnic societies. This book is not cheerful. With few exceptions, Cohen finds the Serbs propelled by anything but the ideals of tolerance and democratic values. Detailing Serbian anti-Semitism before the war and quoting from collaborationist papers that said, "the Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews," he reveals how the Serbian propaganda machine attempted to promote the idea that Serbs, along with the Jews, were the victims of the Nazis. Thus, he shows that the ethnic cleansing the Serbs are engaging in today has deep roots in Serbian culture. Offering a wealth of new information, this impressive, scholarly book is highly recommended for all history collections. [To conduct his research, Cohen made four trips to the Balkans from 1992 to 1995, where he oversaw a team of native speakers who translated the relevant documents for him.Ed.]John Xanthopoulos, Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton
Booknews
To understand Serbian nationalism requires profound attention to history and careful analysis. Cohen accomplishes both through years of studying primary sources never before translated, focusing on World War II and uncovering the foundations of ethnic cleansing. He argues that the Serbs collaborated with the Nazis in contrast to later Serbian rhetoric that claimed the Serbs were victims, "the thirteenth tribe of Israel." This official duplicity veiled the true objectives of the government to create an ethnically pure homeland. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Philip J. Cohen, a medical doctor, has done extensive research on history and politics in the Balkans. He is widely published in scholarly journals and books."Dr. Cohen's book is of unique value because it serves two vital purposes: to document the often misunderstood and misrepresented history of Serbian nationalism and Serbian collaboration with the Nazis and to expose some of the myths used by Serbian extremists today in the former Yugoslavia to justify a new round of genocide and ethnic cleansing.' As a result, it will make the task of revisionists and war criminals all the more difficult.
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Table of Contents

List of Maps and Tables
Series Editor's Statement
Foreword
Preface
Guide to Croatian and Serbian Pronunciation
1 The Roots of Serbian Fascism 3
2 The Serbian State, 1941-1944 28
3 Serbian Complicity in the Holocaust 63
4 Collaboration and Resistance in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 85
5 Serbian Historical Revisionism and the Holocaust 113
Afterword 134
Appendix A: Signatories to the Appeal 137
Appendix B: Members of Collaborationist Governments 153
Notes 159
Bibliography 211
Index 229
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